Reusable Grocery Bags

Reusable grocery bags are made of durable fabric and are intended to replace plastic and paper disposable bags. Although reusable bags are most often used for grocery shopping, they can be used for any type of shopping. Switching to reusable grocery bags prevents the disposable bags from filling up the landfill. In addition, some stores charge a small fee for paper and plastic bags, so reusable bags will save you money. Also, reusable grocery or shopping bags are simply made of material that allow the bag to be reused. These materials may include heavy duty plastic, canvas, or synthetic fibers. Some bags are also made from recycled materials, that make them friendlier to the environment than others.

Pro : Because reusable grocery bagsare generally used for half an hour and then discarded, reusable bags make for a more sustainable option. Not only can they be used for years with proper care, but they are also larger. This results in less plastic bag manufacturing, in turn leading to less oil being used in their production. Additionally, it means that fewer toxic particles are deposited into the earth’s crust as waste when discarded plastic bags decompose,  a process which may take as long as 10,000 years. Since they are heavy duty, these bags are great to carry multiple items. They also have handles that are soft on the hands and easy to carry.

Con: Of course, the materials from which a reusable bag is made determine just how positive an impact it has. A reusable bag made out of thick plastic with an equivalent lifespan to the same weight of plastic in reusable bags, for instance, has virtually no net positive impact. An effective reusable bag should be made from renewable materials and be considerably more durable and have a much longer useful life than disposable alternatives in order to offset the environmental impact of using disposable bags. When selecting a reusable bag, make sure you keep these criteria in mind and select a reusable bag that actually helps to reduce the environmental impact of carrying your groceries.

Though using a reusable bag is a great way to cut down on the use of crude oil, a downside is that many people do not clean their bags. Unwashed reusable grocery bags can harbor bacteria such as E. coli and salmonella, which are found on the surface of unwashed food. To help combat the threat of transferring pathogens, wash your bags weekly and use a different type of bag for different goods; for instance, keep one bag specifically for dry goods, one just for food and another for take-out dinners.